I’m about 2/3 of the way through The Book on Bush and have a few observations. It is numbing in its litany of Bush administration miscues. Much of what’s in here you probably have read before — just not all in one place. And certainly not in the detail presented in the book.
To be honest, however, it’s overwhelming. It’s hard to imagine that we’re three years into this administration and only now — as the Democrats have finally started getting their act together with a consistent message — are the press really starting to hammer away at the evasions (link takes you to today’s White House press briefing; thanks to Josh for the find).
As Alterman and Green state their case, they follow a simple pattern. Start with Bush’s claims (culled from the campaign trail, State of the Union speeches, press conferences — all nine of them — or other public pronouncements) about his goals and agenda, then follow it with his actions. Finally, they’ll throw in quotes from any number of sources about the practical impact of these actions, often to add color to the impact and show you that it’s not just Alterman and Green foaming at the mouth over this issue.
What packs the most punch are when those statements or disagreeing with Bush are from Bush supporters. For example:
When Bush, in 2003 announced the easing of the “New Source Review” standards under the EPA (allowing the country’s oldest 17,000 power plants to continue to operate without meeting emissions standards, the New York Daily News reacted: “The rule change is a direct assault on the environment… Let’s at least be honest about it, Mr. President. Admit that the EPA now stands for the Environmental Pollution Agency.” (The NY Daily News endorsed Bush in 2000.)
It’s an election year. Bush’s coat-tails are shrinking (and his poll numbers are dropping). Chandler’s win in Kentucky yesterday is another data point. What do you want to bet there will be plenty of these critiques of the president by those in his own party eager to curry favor with voters?